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Calgary Flames

Former Flames Star Monahan Was Captain Material

The Calgary Flames enjoyed some great Sean Monahan years and welcome back their former star centre after summer trade.



Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter didn’t have Sean Monahan as one of his students for very long. 

He also never saw the veteran centre fully healthy. 

But if Monahan hadn’t been dealing with such vicious injury issues and had a longer-term contract, there’s little doubt he’d have been a top candidate for the still vacant Calgary Flames captaincy

“Sean did everything you asked him to. If Sean had been one of those guys that was on a long-term thing, that’s a captain — Sean Monahan,” Sutter said ahead of Thursday’s matchup against the Montreal Canadiens. 

Monahan looks rejuvenated this season, scoring five goals and putting up 14 points in 22 games with the Habs after the Flames coughed up a conditional first-round draft pick along with Monahan to enable the signing of free agent Nazem Kadri this summer. 

There were no guarantees Monahan would be able to come back from two separate hip surgeries and find a way to be productive again. He was never a flashy skater. His many goals have been scored because of his hockey sense and willingness to get to areas of the ice that would allow him to use his hard, accurate and deceptive shot. 

And as hard as it may be for some to see Monahan producing so much offensively again on a different team, most are happy for him because of all he went through and how much of himself he gave to the franchise in Calgary. 

“Sean Monahan is such a coachable guy and such a good guy,” Sutter said. “I can tell you right now he’s moving a lot better than any time in the last two years for sure. So good for him.

“I never seen Sean at his best because he had double hip surgery. You think about it, he had one side (surgically repaired), so he’s playing on one there. Then last year he had the other one (operated on). So he played parts of two years with major, major issues.”

Calgary Flames fans will likely give Mohanan a much different reaction than the booing Matthew Tkachuk experienced. His former on-ice bestie Johnny Gaudreau is also expected to be chirped by fans still stinging a little from his last-minute departure as an unrestricted free agent this summer. 

Monahan will be celebrated as a Flames warrior who defined a period of adjustment for the franchise after the Jarome Iginla era ended. 

He helped the Flames find something to be optimistic about.

And for the first time in years, he has reason to be optimistic himself. 

His name is popping up on the NHL trade block again. But this time, for all the right reasons. Monahan’s hefty contract comes off the books at the end of this season and with the centre position at a premium in the playoffs, he’ll be a desired addition for any contender looking to add down the stretch. 

He’d be just as valuable at 28 for a rebuilding team in Montreal, where his rebirth is taking place with the No. 91 on his back and not the 23 he sported with the Flames. 

“There’s three things,” Sutter said when asked what a team needs from a veteran player to mix with up-and-coming skaters. “Good person, good teammate, good competitor … 

“So, check, check, check.”

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